Immoral Purposes ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp
“When was the last time you saw your granddaughter?”
“Saturday night,” Mrs. Cassin said.
“What did she say to you the last time you saw her?”
“She said ‘goodbye’.”
“I was watching TV. If she said anything more than that, I didn’t hear it.”
The big man shifted uncomfortably on the brocade sofa and cleared his throat. Mrs. Cassin looked at him in anticipation of the next question and smiled vacantly.
“Now, she had been dating this boy, this Eddie Weems, for how long?”
“If that was really the son-of-a-bitch’s name!” Mrs. Cassin said.
“How long had she been dating the boy you knew as Eddie Weems?”
“About a month that I know of, but I guess it was going on even longer than that.”
“And you disapproved?”
“You damn right I disapproved!”
“And why did you disapprove of Eddie Weems?”
“He was too old for her!”
“Was that your only objection?”
“No! He was trash! And a hellion!”
“Why do you say that?”
“He wore overalls. He drove a car that made a roaring sound and he didn’t care who saw him smoking cigarettes.”
“So these are the reasons you didn’t like him and didn’t want your granddaughter associating with him?”
Peachy Faraday, the next-door neighbor sitting beside Mrs. Cassin on the red velvet settee facing the brocade sofa, made sympathetic clucking sounds and patted Mrs. Cassin on the hand. “Anybody with eyes in their head could see that Eddie Weems just wasn’t the right kind of boy for Toppy to be going around with,” she said.
“Maybe it would be best if I speak to Mrs. Cassin alone,” the big man said.
“She stays!” Mrs. Cassin said. “I want somebody here on my side to hear the questions you’re asking me.”
“All right,” he said, “but there’s no need for it.”
Peachy was now emboldened to speak: “I heard some awful things about Eddie Weems in church. One of the ladies in my Sunday school class who knows the family says he preys on young girls.”
“Preys on young girls how?”
“How many ways are there?”
“Sounds like gossip to me,” he said. “Gossip is of no use.”
“I’ll have you know I never gossip!”
“Mrs. Cassin, what was your granddaughter wearing the last time you saw her?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “I guess I didn’t pay much attention.”
“I know what she was wearing!” Peachy said.
“You were here when she left?”
“I was just coming onto the porch as she was leaving. She was wearing black slacks, a red sweater and an old mink jacket.”
“Yes. And she had a red hair ribbon in her hair.”
“Did you speak to her?”
“I asked her where she was going but she didn’t answer. Then she ran to the car that was waiting for her and got in and the car sped away.”
“Did you see who was in the car? Who was driving?”
“Well, no, it was too dark to see who was driving, but I know it was the car belonging to Eddie Weems.”
“You were familiar with his car?”
“Everybody in the neighborhood knew his car because it was so loud. You could hear it from two or three blocks away.”
“Is it possible that it was some other car?”
“I don’t think so!”
“She lied to me!” Mrs. Cassin said. “She said she was going to the movies with a girlfriend who had her own car.”
“So it couldn’t have been that car you saw?” the big man asked. “The car of the girl Toppy was going to the movies with?”
“I’m absolutely certain it was the car of Eddie Weems I saw!” Peachy said.
“Now, Mrs. Cassin, did you notice any change in Toppy’s behavior in the days before her disappearance?”
“Did she seem worried about anything or fearful?”
“Did she receive any mysterious phone calls or have any mysterious visitors?”
“Of course not! Don’t you think I would have known if there was anything like that going on?”
“How long had Toppy lived with you?”
“I took her in and raised her as my own little girl from the time she was eight years old. Eight years ago.”
“Her father was your son?”
“Is my son! He’s still alive as far as I know!”
“And where is he now, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Prison. No parole.”
“And the mother? Your son’s wife?”
“She’s a no-good tramp! If she’s not dead, she should be!”
“Does Toppy speak to her mother or know where she is?”
Mrs. Cassin raised both her feet and brought them down on the floor with impatience. “There’s no good in asking all these questions!” she said. “You find that asshole Eddie Weems and there you will also find my granddaughter!”
“Are you sure of that?” the big man asked.
“I’ve never been so sure of anything in my entire life!”
“Well, I have to tell you,” he said. “The family of Eddie Weems has also reported him missing.”
“I knew it!” Mrs. Cassin said.
“He probably took her to another state,” Peachy said. “There’s a name for that. Immoral purposes.”
“Could they have gone off someplace and got married?” the big man asked.
“If they did, I’ll kill that bastard Eddie Weems!” Mrs. Cassin said.
“Getting married is not a crime, Mrs. Cassin,” he said.
“He’s taking advantage of my little girl. She’s a minor and he is not. Isn’t that enough to put him behind bars for the next thirty years?”
“Try to keep calm,” he said. “These things usually work themselves out.”
“I want you to find them and bring them back!”
“We’ll do our best to locate them,” he said. “It might take a few days.”
“When I get my hands on that Eddie Weems, I’ll make him wish he had never been born! And, as for Toppy, it’s convent time for her!”
“She’ll make a pretty little nun,” Peachy said.
Copyright © 2016 by Allen Kopp